Shifting seasons can bring shifting moods, energy levels and health. A few simple practices keep us balanced and poised to flourish as fall works its way into winter.
Ideally we can prepare for a seasonal shift in the weeks before it happens, however, a smooth transition may be attained even if the season is under way.
Fall may spur an increase in cold and flu, monkey mind and dry skin. If you feel swept up in change, under the weather, or unable to still a busy brain, fall may be pushing you around.
In Ayurveda, yoga's sister science, fall is the season of Vata dosha, marked by properties of dry, light, cool and mobile. In Ayurveda, it is believed that like increases like. Adding dry, cool, and mobile to existing Vata will increase its effects. Decreasing the effects requires opposite action: wet, warm, and still. To pacify excess Vata and maintain your balance this fall try the following practices.
Your practice should be slow, smooth and fluid, building warmth but not heat. Keep both feet on the ground with Mountain Pose or deepen your roots with Tree Pose. Work the foundation of Warrior I and II. Ground through hands and feet with Downward Dog. Find fluidity in the hips and shoulders with Cow Face Pose and hip openers. Relax and restore with Child's Pose, Pigeon, or Corpse Pose. Savor each posture for 3-5 long, slow breaths. Try a warm studio practice and keep the body cozy during Savasana and all day long.
Chai tea with its dosha balancing blend of spices, warms and nourishes body, senses, and spirit. Add a little Ashwaganda root to your chai for an immune boost and Vata pacifier. Try a cup of chai with honey and almond milk as mid-afternoon nourishment. Sip hot water with ginger through your day for warmth and hydration, lemon and honey make a nice addition.
Rub skin daily with oils of sesame or sweet almond. Infuse your oil with warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove, or try a chai spice blend. Warm the oil first or add a few tablespoons to your bath and soak (careful not to slip when stepping in and out). Towel dry lightly and enjoy perfectly hydrated skin, ready to slip between the sheets for slumber.
A family favorite at bedtime is foot rubs for the kids, using herb or spice-infused cocoa butter if they show signs of the sniffles. An aromatic reflexology treat for tiny tired feet.
Warm foods such as soups and stews, or roast veggie medley with carrots, onion, beets, and sweet potato or squash, make nourishing meals for fall. Try spices like basil, ginger, and sage, or cinnamon and cardamom in your dishes. Get creative. Invent a pumpkin chai spice pudding, loaf, or pancake.
Rose, geranium, sweet orange, lavender, and neroli may be added to a warm bath or sesame or almond oil for massage or natural perfume, diffused into the air, or dropped onto a tissue and kept in your pocket for a whiff of aromatherapy throughout your day.
Take time to meditate each day, stilling the body and mind. Focus on one task at a time, get plenty of rest, stick to a routine, and keep life simple as you transition with the seasons and flourish this fall.